SBA Conference Expands to Bring Cross-Industry Learning and Connections to Students
Widener is constantly working to ensure that its graduates are prepared for the ever-changing professional landscape, and the School of Business Administration (SBA) put this into action by hosting the Future of Work Conference as part of Homecoming 2022 celebrations.
The event expanded on last year’s SBA Career Day, a day-long a series of panel discussions that covered a range of topics led by faculty, staff, alumni, and industry professionals. Panels at this year’s event featured trending industry topics such as inequalities in the next century of work, healthcare, and more.
Industry leaders from the Philadelphia Phillies, Team Alteamus, Equitable Cities Consulting, and more joined faculty from across the university to create a cross-industry event.
“We intentionally included faculty from across campus on the various panels to help our audiences understand that the issues related to the future of work stretched beyond what they might learn to even think about as business,” said Anthony Wheeler, dean of SBA. “When we connect the different parts of campus, we exponentially increase the learning opportunities for our entire Widener community.”
One such faculty member was Zora Wolfe, an associate professor in the Center for Education. Wolfe served on the “Inequalities in the next century of work” panel and was glad to be able to share her perspective.
“It is so important for us to emerge from our silos to hear other perspectives on what we can do and how we can collaborate,” Wolfe said. “It was fascinating to hear common themes even across sessions that highlighted specific areas where we can focus to strengthen all of our efforts.”
As with all events, Widener students were at the core of the conference. Panels provided attendees the opportunity to learn from industry leaders, and networking breaks helped to strengthen industry-level connections.
Isabella Ricevuto, an accounting major with a minor in finance and business analytics, prides herself on taking advantage of all the opportunities that SBA provides its students. By attending last year’s event as a freshman, she gained the confidence and skills to continue to build her personal brand and forge strong connections.
“Industry professionals take the time to visit campus and allow potential work candidates to speak with them and gain knowledge,” said Ricevuto. “The most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself for future success would be to not be afraid to put yourself out there and take the opportunities that are presented to you.”
Robert Lamastra, a business analytics major with a minor in sport and event management, also found value and in the event. With a goal of working in professional sports, Lamastra made valuable and lasting connections at last year’s event with Philadelphia Phillies staff and went into this year’s event open minded and ready to learn more, attending sessions about name, image, and likeness, and the fourth industrial revolution.
Lamastra emphasized the importance of making the most of events like this on campus.
"It's really important for students to have these experiences and connections." - Robert Lamastra
“You never know who you’re going to meet. You could meet your best friend; you could meet your future employer. You’re really doing a disservice to yourself if you aren’t taking advantage of these opportunities.” Lamastra said
The event concluded with a keynote given by Dirk Werth, managing partner and scientific director at the August-Wilhelm Scheer Institute in Germany. Werth shared how digitization will impact the way we work in coming years, and how students can best prepare themselves for success in the ever-changing landscape.
Looking ahead, Wheeler envisions an even bigger event next year for Widener students.
“Our goal in the School of Business Administration relating to the Future of Work Conference is to have the entire campus -- all of the colleges and schools -- participate in the next conference,” said Wheeler. “Next year, our goal is to make the conference bigger and better!”